Blepharitis

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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What are the symptoms and signs of blepharitis?

Signs and symptoms of blepharitis are usually present in both eyes, affecting the upper and lower lids. They can appear at any age. Symptoms (what one feels in the eyes or eyelids) include

  • itchy or irritated eyelids,
  • mild tearing,
  • dryness of the eyes,
  • burning sensation,
  • gritty or sandy sensation,
  • foreign-body sensation (the feeling that something may be in the eye),
  • crusting of the eyelids,
  • decreased comfort while wearing contact lenses, and
  • sensitivity to light.

Signs (observations that one makes) of blepharitis include

  • red eyelid margins,
  • swollen eyelids,
  • increased shedding of skin cells near the eyelids, causing flaking of the skin around the eyes,
  • matting of the lashes or eyes "glued together" in the morning,
  • eyelids that appear greasy and crusted with scales that cling to the lashes,
  • crusted eyelashes upon awakening,
  • tears that are frothy or bubbly in nature,
  • eyelashes that grow abnormally,
  • loss of eyelashes,
  • mild scarring of the eyelid margins,
  • mild ulceration of the lid margins,
  • dry and flaky patches of skin on the lid, and
  • dandruff of the lashes and eyebrows.

The symptoms and signs of blepharitis are often erroneously ascribed by the patient as being due to "recurrent conjunctivitis." They are also often mistakenly attributed to "dry eye" by patients due to the gritty sensation that may occur. Lubricating drops, however, do little to improve the condition.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/5/2016

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